Friday, January 15, 2016

Compassion (victimhood) vs. agency (accountability)

I've noticed in law school that smart people with one viewpoint or ideology who surround themselves with people of an opposing viewpoint or ideology tend to be 3-5 years ahead of the general thought trend amongst the class of people who consider themselves educated (by that, I mainly mean people who read the NY Times, just because I am not sure by how else to refer to them).  Philosopher Martha Nussbaum is one of these types of people. As much as I don't often agree with some of her ideas (animal rights?), hers is a rare mind that understands not just the reasons that she believes make her right, but all of the reasons that others think she is wrong. Which is sort of reassuring in reading her work. In her book Upheavals of Thought, as excerpted by Brain Pickings, she discusses the interesting interplay and intersection between agency and victimhood. True to what I just described, she anticipates some of the backlash against the cult of victimhood (published in 2001! 14 years before college students begin protesting microaggressions, amazingly prescient), but argues that the backlash goes too far -- that although identifying as a victim could be a worryingly disempowering tactic for the would-be victim, we also can't deny that people are often hurt by the world in ways that they do not deserve:

Compassion requires the judgment that there are serious bad things that happen to others through no fault of their own. In its classic tragic form, it imagines that a person possessed of basic human dignity has been injured by life on a grand scale. So it adopts a thoroughly anti-Stoic picture of the world, according to which human beings are both dignified and needy, and in which dignity and neediness interact in complex ways… The basic worth of a human being remains, even when the world has done its worst. But this does not mean that the human being has not been profoundly damaged, both outwardly and inwardly.

The society that incorporates the perspective of tragic compassion into its basic design thus begins with a general insight: people are dignified agents, but they are also, frequently, victims. Agency and victimhood are not incompatible: indeed, only the capacity for agency makes victimhood tragic. In American society today, by contrast, we often hear that we have a stark and binary choice, between regarding people as agents and regarding them as victims. We encounter this contrast when social welfare programs are debated: it is said that to give people various forms of social support is to treat them as victims of life’s ills, rather than to respect them as agents, capable of working to better their own lot.
***
We find the same contrast in recent feminist debates, where we are told that respecting women as agents is incompatible with a strong concern to protect them from rape, sexual harassment, and other forms of unequal treatment. To protect women is to presume that they can’t fight on their own against this ill treatment; this, in turn, is to treat them like mere victims and to undermine their dignity.

[…]

We are offered the same contrast, again, in debates about criminal sentencing, where we are urged to think that any sympathy shown to a criminal defendant on account of a deprived social background or other misfortune such as child sexual abuse is, once again, a denial of the defendant’s human dignity. Justice Thomas, for example, went so far as to say, in a 1994 speech, that when black people and poor people are shown sympathy for their background when they commit crimes, they are being treated like children, “or even worse, treated like animals without a soul.”
***
If, then, we hear political actors saying such things about women, and poor people, and racial minorities, we should first of all ask why they are being singled out: what is there about the situation of being poor, or female, or black that means that help is condescending, and compassion insulting?

She discusses why she believes people are reluctant to acknowledge true victims, essentially an application of the just world fallacy (the belief that the world must be ultimately basically fair):

The victim shows us something about our own lives: we see that we too are vulnerable to misfortune, that we are not any different from the people whose fate we are watching, and we therefore have reason to fear a similar reversal.

One thing that has been interesting about being more public about having a personality disorder that is largely loathed by a large segment of the population is the lack of compassion. The truth is that the sociopath is its own type of victim. No one chooses to have a personality disorder. A sociopath is a victim of genes and environment that triggered those genes at such an early age that the sociopath does not even remember that time period. The sociopath likely was preverbal. The sociopath for sure was an infant, toddler, or small child. The sociopath lacked almost any control over what was done to him or her and certainly had no understanding about the consequences of those experiences, nor had any adequate coping skills or ability to have chosen to develop otherwise.

So the agency/compassion distinction is big with sociopaths, and really all personality disorders and a lot of mental health problems that are stigmatized. On the one hand, society really must demand a certain sort of responsibility for actions and conformity to basic rules of behavior (i.e. agency), even from those who have different brain wiring. Ok, but why do we have to hate people with different brain wiring? The agency/compassion distinction does not mean that they're mutually exclusive, right? Can't we both have compassion for people and hold them responsible for their actions? Or I guess a slightly different question is, can't we hold people responsible for their actions without necessarily blaming them for their actions? 

86 comments:

  1. Very interesting from a personal perspective and from a philosophical perspective.

    Agency and victimhood are concepts that have weaved a strange but slowly unravelling dance in my mind this past year.

    I had considered myself an agent, had a strong conception of myself as such. Not 'til he tried the restraining order revenge did I allow myself to consider I was a victim, ie that he had been unfair, messed with my free will through deceit and that was damaging to my personhood (or dignity) as your post names it. Prior to that, the concept of victimhood was abhorrent to me and didn't form part of my self-image in the slightest.

    I also understand the situation of a person's traumatic past contributing to their lawbreaking.

    And because I broke my marriage vows in the midst of my pain I understand that when needs are not being met, one more easily - or perhaps inevitably- moves a standard deviation or two from the norm.

    In a personal sense, I understand then the *usefulness* of mercy over judgement: it considers the person before you, makes space for their narrative, their particular model of the world shaped by their organism and experience.

    And I have seen the law: observed its clinical 'to the letter' operation and engaged with it 'to the letter'. Rules are necessary for the structure of society; anarchy is not only suboptimal for resource allocation, it is also not favoured by our psychological tendency to *make rules*. Natural selection chose a degree of organisation.

    Aristotle called humans political animals. We are indeed social creatures who almost unanimously opt in to the social contract, compelled by our natures.

    Sometimes still I am almost overwhelmed by an impulse for retribution. From what I have read, this is perfectly natural. Society cannot repair the wrongs done to me and that leaves me feeling totally excluded and a voice rages in my brain saying 'throw it away! Society is useless, reject your place and take your revenge.' I can even see it. But I don't do it. It's an impulse, a mood, and I know it will pass and I know I will continue to build the life I choose.


    The law is a system that serves the purpose of justice in the particular way it emerges from a particular community. This embedded drive for retribution is the basis of our concept of fairness. I suspect it relates again to resource protection, management and investment and promoting our own genepool. So I would argue for a justice system that takes into account these more basic facts of our existence as complex organisms.

    There are places for both mercy and judgement. Mercy particularly in person-to-person relations, fair judgement at law (however that emerges from culture). I suspect human psychology tends to these regardless of argument but I am speculating and surely people who know what they are discussing could add lots of insight.

    M.E. Thanks for the challenging intro, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think of all the times I've been shown mercy despite the pain I've caused others thru ignorance on my part. My experience with a sociopath made me reflect on that mercy. It has greatly helped in my longing for retribution . As well as the knowledge that I have no desire to be tied in a karmic bond with this person.

      Delete
  2. "Why feed the hungry? Because it feeds your ego. These actions do not have to stem from morality, although we like to believe they do."

    Yes, people show compassion when it is convenient to do so. The same could be said of sociopaths, because why not place ourselves in a better light for others to look up to us more easily? We sip our morning black coffee in the morning with the newspaper in hand and think of all the poor souls we've helped and patted on the head like lonely dogs, and how we really don't care to do it because we're emotionally invested in anyway, but rather because it's beneficial to show off how superficially virtuous we are, "virtue signalling". It's just another expression of the ego that even normal people indulge in. The other day a friend asked me what I've been up to recently, and I mentioned the work I do with homeless youth. She seemed pleased with what I had to say, but what if she saw my act of kindness for what it might really be, simply me exercising my social position in life to provide to others while all along I'm actually just looking down upon the helpless?

    It facinates me how much the average normal person can be so narcissistic and just as shallow as your typical sociopath. That as I look at the people around me and see that as much as they are compassionate, that they also do so that so they can feel comfortable looking back at the person in the mirror. Is it some pressure they feel from society, a fear of expectations of a future for themselves in which others look upon them with disgust and hatred because they walked past everyone in their life who was suffering and did nothing?

    There's agency, the expectation that others will pull themselves up by the boot straps and keep going, and there is compassion, to look down upon others who seem so helpless to us because that is what we reflect upon them and see with our own egos. I knowingly look down upon others, being self aware of the fact that in some way I insult them with my compassion that I choose to show. Whether or not I enable them enough to allow them to have enough agency to change their lives for the better isn't necessarily all up to me. There's a saying, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." I've fed and even gave practical counseling to many homeless youth, but I cannot wave a magic psycho fairy wand and make everything better. Someone I knew once said that helping homeless youth is like a cinderella story, with the girl and all the other things she needs to arrive at the party, but the fairy does not have the wand to make it happen. Cinderella has to be her own catalyst for change, get herself done up beautiful enough to present to the prince and have her happily ever after. All the fairy can do is look down at the girl, click her tongue, and hand the girl a paper lunch sack and tell her to run along and chase her dreams.

    ESTP Sociopath

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't quote on my phone but I agree wholeheartedly with your Cinderella analogy. we must be personally responsible if we wish to do anything with ourselves.

      And interesting point about shallowness, ESTP S.

      Something I have considered more recently is what society labels as superficiality. Preoccupation with appearance, dressing and acting to attract the opposite sex, gossiping and what not.

      I'm beginning to think of it as far less contrived than I once did. It's about attracting mates and deriving benefit from the social environment. This is behaviour we're inclined to. Neurotypicals know they are doing this just as sociopaths do. I doubt they understand it quite so well because our society attaches an element of shame (probably for other complex reasons) to it. I read in a study, for example, that women are vicious towards other women that are perceived to be promiscuous, possibly because it reduces women's bargaining power in the mating game overall.

      Delete
    2. Something I once said to a friend,

      "I don't mind coming off as superficial. That can be seen as someone easily understood at the level of skin deep, and consequently if there is little left to be unknown at least outwardly then perhaps there is less reason to be afraid of me and possibly more reason to like me."

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    3. ESTP Sociopath at 2:52

      Do you like to be liked for its own sake, as an end in itself, or is it consciously a means to an end?

      Delete
  3. I do not look down on people for whom I have compassion. Why should I feel superior to those who are in pain? To do so is to buy into the fantasy that I am above feeling pain and that somehow I will always rise above circumstances beyond my control. To say that feeling compassion and feeling superior go hand in hand is to believe that I'm invincible. This is clearly false: As a living corporeal being I am as vulnerable as any other person.

    Nor do I need to feel that I am 'good' in the eyes of others. Others do not live inside my skin and their opinions do not define me or my experience. When I give to the unfortunate, it's simply because I feel the desire to do so, to alleviate a bit of their suffering. I could care less how others view that or those times when I'm being selfish, i.e., decide not to give. These are matters for me to decide. Mine and mine alone, according to my own time, mood and ability in the moment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you sincere with your conviction? Are you so sure your compassion is deeply seated only in morality? I have my doubts about that. It just sounds too good to be true, like a knight in shining armor come to whisk me off my feet and carry me off to his castle. I suppose such people can exist, much like I exist.

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    2. Anon 8:56-Thank you for sharing.:) You are intelligent and wise-a winning combination, I always say.:) Your words were beautiful-sheer perfection.:)

      Delete
    3. ESTP: Yes. My compassion is not based on morality. It has to do with survival. Being able to walk around with experiencing distress.

      My compassion is based on the fact I suffer feeling the very real physical, emotional and spiritual pain of others. (I know that's sounds 'wooist' to you, but, being you're a socio, I don't expect you to feel the way I do.)

      I can relate to being in pain and so do what I can to alleviate it. Pain is pain. It doesn't matter to me what strata of society it comes from; pain exists in every strata. Including the pain you suffer.

      Sometimes, in fact often, I can't respond to those I see in pain: When you walk by countless folk living on the street, people on public transit, repressing their pain, you can't give to everyone. There would be nothing left for me.

      As a wise friend told me: First you need your oxygen mask, then you're able to give oxygen to others. So I give what I can, according to my mood, health and ability in the moment. And have stopped guilt-tripping myself when I fail.

      We do exist and need to co-habitat.

      We all fail one way or another, sooner or later. We all need help or assistance. Friends we can trust.

      I can relate to that, too.

      I'm no knight, but sometimes I am a shining sharp knife. Cutting through the BS of human constructs that only serve the few or serve idiotic beliefs or ideas. My multiverse is big enough to include everyone, recognizing that everyone suffers pain, isolation and death. Why wouldn't I feel compassionate?

      Anon@ 4:02
      Thank you. My core and its ensuing words are never perfected. You flatter me. ;)

      I'm content that you found my words entertaining and wise. That is a very serious compliment,

      Delete
    4. Being able to walk around with[out] experiencing distress.

      Other typos, I hope, leave nothing to your imagination. ;))

      Delete
    5. So you're allegedly some kind of uber-empath? That's interesting, and I see how unique your perspective is, but what if you're simply projecting with your own ego onto me what you want to see in me as a human being? What if, knowing how you chose to interpret my words, was simply you expressing your perception of my external reality rather than my internal reality? I find it quite interesting, other people's thoughts of how they interpret how I present myself outwardly. Being self aware of that allows me to reconfigure my "mask of normalcy" to better play with people like you. I mean that with as much sincerity and purely earnest words as I'm capable of.

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    6. Anon 8:48 is right. Once you have sufficient oxygen (know how to look after yourself), it's quite natural to flow good energy on to others. And this is not simply to follow rules (morality), it's simply how we are wired as social creatures. And it feels good.

      Perhaps I haven't read the trail properly on my phone, but what have Anon's words got to do with your reality, either internal or external? It seemed a genuine answer to a genuine question.

      Delete
    7. So you're allegedly some kind of uber-empath?

      That's how others would interpret my lifestyle, ESTP. Personally, I don't totally identify with that label. My boundaries have evolved due to necessity.

      That's interesting, and I see how unique your perspective is, but what if you're simply projecting with your own ego onto me what you want to see in me as a human being? What if, knowing how you chose to interpret my words, was simply you expressing your perception of my external reality rather than my internal reality? I find it quite interesting, other people's thoughts of how they interpret how I present myself outwardly.

      Indeed. I can only respond to the way you express yourself here, in your own words. ;)

      Being self aware of that allows me to reconfigure my "mask of normalcy" to better play with people like you. I mean that with as much sincerity and purely earnest words as I'm capable of"

      Your sincerity to 'play' me is comforting. All the better to see you with. Lol. Hugs to you, too.

      XYX

      Delete
    8. How charming you are.

      "My, what beautiful eyes you have!"

      "All the better to see you with, of course."

      There's something about people with such a variety of opinions that just makes me want to... just triggers a thirst that I impulsively want quench.

      However, I don't want to play with you actually, but rather people who obviously are ignorant of my internal monologue, the people who don't get to see what lays beneath the surface. I'm as honest as I am here because this is supposed to be a safe environment to discuss sociopathy and the underlying traits beneath that label. Or that's what I prefer it to be. I come here to have constructive conversations in regards to sociopathy, to speak with those who identify as sociopathic or as normal people. Whether or not you're capable of successfully performing unsolicited emotional advising to me that will elicit the right emotional response you seek to tease and tickle out of me as if I'm some helpless thing you can verbally molest because you see yourself as some authority over morality, has absolutely no true relevancy to me. I can take what you say, but will it have any value to me?

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    9. ESTP: "However, I don't want to play with you actually, but rather people who obviously are ignorant of my internal monologue, the people who don't get to see what lays beneath the surface."

      I'm not _totally_ ignorant, I hope. I'm simply here to investigate the colder regions of mind. Being interested in all life tends to inculcate a desire to understand precisely what neurons are active in folk.

      "I'm as honest as I am here because this is supposed to be a safe environment to discuss sociopathy and the underlying traits beneath that label. Or that's what I prefer it to be. I come here to have constructive conversations in regards to sociopathy, to speak with those who identify as sociopathic or as normal people."

      Me, too As expressed above. This is a safe space, far as I know.

      "Whether or not you're capable of successfully performing unsolicited emotional advising to me that will elicit the right emotional response you seek to tease and tickle out of me . . ."

      I am only here to discuss stuf. But if you're tickled, that tickles me, too. ;)

      "as if I'm some helpless thing"

      I certainly do not perceive you as helpless. Quite the opposite.

      "you can verbally molest"

      Please drop the dramatization of my comment to you. It's not that stage-worthy.

      "because you see yourself as some authority over morality,"

      You've got to kidding! :) That's your perception. My piss stinks as much as yours. And the Pope's, for that matter. Though I must admit that Francis' piss is likely more finely distilled than mine will ever be.

      "has absolutely no true relevancy to me. I can take what you say, but will it have any value to me?

      I don't know. How would I? Matter of fact, why would I really care?

      I care that your words are of value to me, actually.

      So far, they are pretty interesting, ESTP.

      XYX

      Delete
    10. Well, I'm also cognizant of the reality that my perception and your perception of it may not coincide, but in that sense each are equally valid and therefore without any real meaning, beyond whatever each individual makes of it based on their inherent proclivities.

      I will not drop the dramatizing of my words, as my analogies are an art piece to me, what imagery I paint onto the canvases of other people's minds to trigger the emotional dominoes effect I desire. If you couldn't tell, I'm just proding you repeatedly for the sake of intellectually stimulating me. I want to know what makes you hiss and arch your back in rage because I want to know your motivations and weaknesses, what your intentions are here, and how can you appeal to me in a way that makes what you have to say seem of use to me.

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    11. Your first paragraph is right on the money, ESTP S and goes for all human interactions and relationships.

      Thought you must have found a good strain today ;)

      Delete
    12. "Anon 8:48 is right. Once you have sufficient oxygen (know how to look after yourself), it's quite natural to flow good energy on to others. And this is not simply to follow rules (morality), it's simply how we are wired as social creatures. And it feels good."

      "Flowing positive energy" is something I do constantly, typically to invoke a sense of trust for others to feel for me. I'm not sure if what you mean by that vibes with me in the same way I see it, but it is something I attempt to do when it seems convenient. I may not be a comforting presense, but I can on my own initiative embrace someone. I don't think I can relate to the "good feeling" it brings to you either, as doing it is no more emotionally charged for me then licking the adhesive on an evelope to seal it shut. I try to speak in a manner you and others can cognitively grasp, but it doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to see my perspective in the same manner I do.

      "Perhaps I haven't read the trail properly on my phone, but what have Anon's words got to do with your reality, either internal or external? It seemed a genuine answer to a genuine question."

      I suppose the real answer I could provide is that as hard as I try to put my emotional state into perspective for others to understand, it seems like there is a shut off point where my lack of empathy, my callousness, doesn't seem to be as well understood as I would like it to be. Or perhaps I misunderstand Anonymous's intentions, and I'm meaninglessly shooting bullets into the dark. I like to think of the various possibilities.

      I'm content with my pattern of thinking, yet I'm also aware of the implications of speaking to people who are whiling to speak with me while I'm not playing out some facade as I would with someone face to face or however I'm communicating with them. If this conversation played out face to face, there probably wouldn't be anything to be seen wrong in me by the other person.

      To ask me to behave differently is to ask me to wear my mask of normalcy, the face that is or should be indistinguishable from the typical normal person.

      There's more I might like to say, but I must ponder upon what has been said here a bit more.

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    13. I appreciate your response ESTP. It seemed paranoid, or a misunderstanding. I really am not thinking you should be anything other than what you are. I don't think sociopathy and the particular patterns your organism operates in are any more or less valid than any neurotypical's - we all float through this world, surviving and thriving as each we can, often crashing into each other; billiard balls spinning on a tiny table in eternal time space.

      You put it clearly at 11:36 - we do not know the contents of another's mind, nor their mental representation of an interaction or relationship. We are black boxes to each other, black boxes to ourselves. We guess at, infer from our own experiences, reverse engineer. Ultimately, though, we see inputs and outputs.

      Delete
    14. "We do not know the contents of another's mind, nor their mental representation of an interaction or relationship. We are black boxes to each other, black boxes to ourselves. We guess at, infer from our own experiences, reverse engineer. Ultimately, though, we see inputs and outputs."

      I wouldn't be against the possibility that it is paranoia on my part, as perhaps it might be a side effect of a lack of affective empathy; as much as I cognitively try to undetstand the emotions of others, I can't truly feel for in kind for their emotions and consequently lack a greater understanding of their genuine emotional state. How can I empathize better with someone I simply don't feel for? So yes, I see inputs, what I can do to elicit emotions in others, and the outputs, my observation of what they might be experiencing emotional because of the kind of stimulation I've provided.

      I too appreciate your response, North, and you too Anonymous. I constantly try to stretch the boundaries of my mentality to broaden my outlook at life, and conversations like these satiate my craving for it.

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    15. ESTP Sociopath,

      I recommend watching Simon Sinek's Why Leaders Eat Last. He describes the biological bases for social behaviour, at least in terms of the four pleasure chemicals endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. Oxytocin is the relevant hormone in this case; here's the link:

      Why Leaders Eat Last (Oxytocin)

      "We put a premium of time and energy" because these are "equal and non-redeemable commodities." It's a biological, sub-conscious evaluation.

      I love this video. Excellent explanatory power. He does have the odd dig at "banker boys" (earlier than the time reference in the link above)... nevertheless I think you'll find a lot of value.

      I'f you have 45 minutes spare over the weekend, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

      Delete
    16. ESTP Sociopath,

      "I wouldn't be against the possibility that it is paranoia on my part, as perhaps it might be a side effect of a lack of affective empathy; as much as I cognitively try to undetstand the emotions of others, I can't truly feel for in kind for their emotions and consequently lack a greater understanding of their genuine emotional state."

      This makes sense to me. I think humans tend to project our own internal state onto just about everything, this is why we anthropomorphise! and I think it's the mechanism behind empathy. Dan Siegel (author of Mindsight) says we represent another's experience through mirror neurons, pathways that run right through our bodies (he calls it our "resonance circuits" - the pathways we activate are ALWAYS based on an interpretation based on OUR internal mapping. How could it be otherwise?

      Again, interested in your thoughts.

      Delete
    17. Your example of anthropomorphism is interesting; to me at least, I find it curious how normal people project their emotions onto animals under the assumption that the supposed emotional expression of the animal is in some way the same or similar to whatever emotional state they choose to see in them. I just see biological inate behavior patterns typical of the animal taking place, nothing special. I'm not oblivious to the practical use of it though in regards to socializing with others. I might use an analogy involving animal behavior or, say, if we were walking together down the street in a neighborhood I might comment on whatever arbitrary emotion I might see in a cat walking by so that I might elicit some sort of reaction from you that I want.

      So, in a sense, my way of interacting with others I take certain actions I order to super impose upon them the emotional state I might find more appealing.

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    18. Well, an observation I might make is that if there is a chemical imbalance within my brain, a defiency in oxytocin or lack of it produced according to whatever stimuli, that I may have less reason to partake in prosocial behaviors and instead be more inclined to give in to antisocial impulses. Perhaps the lack of oxytocin is what also consequently leads to friends telling me the hugs I give lack the comfort they seek from me.

      Interesting video, North. I'm watching it right now. A quick google search also pulled up a blog post by M.E. on Oxytocin, and it would appear she has written a few other posts on the subject as well.

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    19. Interesting, I'll look up M.E.'s articles.

      Your thoughts on anthropomorphism reminded me of this article.

      These are photos of a female kangaroo dying. Her joey is beside her and a buck is cradling her head. But he is not doing what most people think he is doing...

      Gonna tune out with a movie now :)

      Delete
    20. ESTP:

      I will not drop the dramatizing of my words, as my analogies are an art piece to me, what imagery I paint onto the canvases of other people's minds to trigger the emotional dominoes effect I desire."

      Paint away. I would never want to stifle your art.

      If you couldn't tell, I'm just proding you repeatedly for the sake of intellectually stimulating me. I want to know what makes you hiss and arch your back in rage because I want to know your motivations and weaknesses, what your intentions are here, and how can you appeal to me in a way that makes what you have to say seem of use to me."

      Fair enough. Takes a lot to make me hiss, though.

      XYX

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    21. ESTP Sociopath at 2:08 :

      "So, in a sense, my way of interacting with others I take certain actions I order to super impose upon them the emotional state I might find more appealing."

      When you say 'super impose' do you mean in the sense of engender, initiate, cause to happen? (I assume you do but want to make sure I am understanding it correctly).

      Many thanks for very interesting comments here. These are things we need to better understand.

      Delete
    22. I think ESTP Sociopath's contributions to this thread are particularly interesting and informative, and do not seem paranoid to me. One drawback of emotionality is its faciliation of self-deception and self flattery and this is something that sociopaths can see a mile off and makes us easily manipulable. This is one way in which sociopaths can educate us about ourselves.

      Delete
    23. Hi ESTP S,

      I found M.E.'s article Oxytocin debunked?

      Interesting parts

      The article breaks the recent research findings into five main categories:

      1. It keeps you loyal to your love—and leery of the rest.

      2. It makes us poor winners and sore losers.

      3. It makes you cooperative with your group—sometimes a little too cooperative.

      4. It makes you see your group as better than other groups (to a point).

      5. It does make us trusting—but not gullible.


      and

      " it’s not the only one to find that oxytocin seems to make us really, really, really like our own groups, even at the expense of other groups."

      Quick interpretation
      I take data to hold before the model, the map before the territory. In this case, we see behavioural results contrasted with supposedly inherent morality.

      Life is about survival of the fittest. Humans, being a social species, survive through group collaboration. The results make perfect sense - this is how we survive.

      More and more studies like this and cross domain - let's turf the current understanding of morality. Morality, in my opinion, is our psychological tendency to structure groups with rules. There are some innate drivers for some of the rules, of course. Others are pure convention.

      When we consider the animality of the human species, do you see the different modes of existence are given equal validity? Do you see your own approach to life fits neatly into the human survival picture and does NOT run counter to the rest of the universe? You still need to remain in the implicit social contract to survive and how you do that is up to you. If you burn bridges, you might suffer. Those are the risks you take.

      For me, I want to immerse fully in life in accordance with my own nature. I'm learning that the more I trust myself, the better I respond to threats and opportunities in the environment.


      @Anon 12:13
      I came to realise my circuitry is not faulty, the sociopath in my life short-circuited it.

      I'll use the starker lens of the sociopath, sure. But I won't rip out my own eyes. The key for me is self-awareness - knowing what I want, what I don't want moment to moment and setting appropriate boundaries.

      That's my approach, I'm interested to hear about yours.

      Delete
    24. mmmm, hijacked is a better description than short-circuited.

      Delete
    25. "One drawback of emotionality is its faciliation of self-deception and self flattery"

      I'd also like to point out the obvious reality that sociopaths are equally capable of self-deception and self-flattery.

      They aren't superhuman.

      The narratives we tell ourselves are supremely interesting, of course, and are no approximation of any truth in any case. How can there be a truth to sum up an individual at any point in time, vastly complex creatures that we are. We individually have as many neurons as stars in the milky way! And then the connections they are making! Are your social interactions more important than your heart rate? No, no, no. Our narratives are always puny nothings - that serve very powerful purposes. They are tools and when wielded effectively help us learn from experience and respond better to the opportunities in our environments.

      Don't buy into the idea that you are weaker for your emotions. Please. Sociality is our collective strength as a species and gives us as individuals a lot of pleasure.

      Delete
    26. North, I see that over the past couples of weeks you have been rebelling against having been hijacked. Getting angry. Welcoming your emotions because you recognize how valuable they are to you and to others. It is nice to see.

      One thing I remember from my socio friend taking me through hell is how difficult it was to keep my various feelings alive. I was hurting and wanted to turn everything off. And your hell was and is a lot tougher than mine ever was I imagine.

      My feelings are still with me. I have not become insensitive but I think unfortunately they have been muted perhaps a bit too much. I dont know. I used to be too sensitive. I find life easier now in a lot of ways but I also think I am missing something I used to have in greater abundance. My socio friend jokes with me about the fact that I am now an adult...!

      Look at August 3 and August 21 2014 on this blog if you would like. I think you might find it interesting. Puppy basket has very interesting insights. So does Tii

      Delete
    27. I have been thinking lately about John Lennon saying war is over if you want it. Our collective consciousness is so powerful.

      Delete
    28. ----- warning - super rambly post -----

      Thanks OldAndWise, I will check out the posts.

      I have been angry variously, I haven't tended to explore it here so much in the past. You were right - it *is* important to be angry, and since your post I have allowed myself to *feel* the desire for retribution and let it flow a bit more.

      You know, I think most of my pain was from my husband. The sociopath didn't do anything so horrible to me. He lied and played a game but all men lie to get sex. Women too probably!

      About your more muted feelings... it's probably different for me. I was always sensitive, but didn't understand my feelings. Squashed them. I didn't identify with them at all; they were incumbrances. A friend recommended I read The Intelligence Paradox. He is a genius, a robotics engineer, and he struggles. He was looking for answers in this book. I didn't actually think much of it but there were a few keys. The author talks about overanalysis: intelligent people using their brains to analyse social situations instead of listening to their feelings. That's where I pinched the term "feelings are evolution's gift for navigating social situations." These insights and others helped me welcome my feelings.

      When I first saw the psychologist, he asked questions about my feelings and I stared at him blankly. I couldn't put a name on them, couldn't grasp them at all.

      When he asked me if I felt like staying with my husband or leaving, I said "I think blah, blah, blah." He stopped me and said this is something you feel. Like if ask you if you feel like a cup of tea, you don't need to think about that.

      I knew I felt like leaving!! And I left not long after.

      I was waking up to the feelings. Well, the sociopath lit the match.

      ****
      Started reading... I think you have made some excellent observations and conclusions. Puppy Basket... how funny is that "I think some of the wounded that come to this site are actually the victims of full on Narcissists not sociopaths. " Certainly true in my case as I wrote above. And I think the process she describes is probably like it was for the one in my life. He knew he would get bored with me and he flagged it.

      Puppy Basket describes well why society ostracises deviants.

      About hijacking, your analogy of a sociopath as a drug dealer works nicely. Drugs actually hijack the "love" pathways :) so the sociopath is one-up on the hard stuff!

      I'm not sure about your case, but I picked up many warning signals but I was too caught up in my own pain and ignored them. I figured if he wanted to put the effort in to love me, that was his choice. He was very patient with me, very patient. Eventually that oxytocin buildup Simon Sinek describes flicked over into trust and I fell for him. Then he started pulling back. Lol, nothing in life is free.

      I certainly never planned a future with this guy, it was an affair. But I did believe he was safe. He painted that picture very nicely. He wasn't safe. And I had to learn to stand up and look after myself pronto. Which is what I am doing. My feelings are part of me and I enlist them at every opportunity, but clearly can still build awareness of my neurological pathways - I think you described something like that. It's an ongoing process.

      "The pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them." ~ Rumi

      My psychologist taught me tears are just a biological impulse. I think they help change. I'm happy enough to cry. Sometimes it's overwhelming, though. On Friday, I felt swamped and actually phoned a long time friend and it's the first time I have been able to do that. I think it's a good thing.

      I do enjoy your insights... feel free to point me towards more. I'm also interested in hearing how your journey has panned out, your reflections on the journey itself.


      Delete
    29. "...what imagery I paint onto the canvases of other people's minds to trigger the emotional dominoes effect I desire."

      This chimes so much with my own experiences at the hands of a sociopath. It is gratifying, somehow, to hear a sociopath talk so candidly; to confirm what you have sensed or suspected, to have less left to the imagination, the infernal "churning of the self machine" that is half the problem in such experiences, questions that never let you rest. Beautifully put, too. It also tells us that if we are careful about that first domino we might avert the cascade.

      Delete
    30. Ooh Anon 5:47 I missed your post or I'd have commented! Collective consciousness is something that's starting to make a little more sense to me. Would you elaborate for us?

      Delete
    31. War is over if you want it. I believe this was during Vietnam which I know John Lennon opposed but there is something about the wording of the statement that has always seemed a little grammatically incorrect or incomplete. I think because it wasn't the war is over just war is over. It takes it out of that particular context of time and place and makes it much more infinite. The war within ourself can be over at any time. Its already over.

      Delete
    32. I guess blame really doesn't matter to me as much at this point. Prison is full of people who feel they had every reason to do what they did. There comes a point when that's for our legal system to take over and make an ultimate ruling. It has been extremely hard for me because I know there was the intent to harm me physically from day one. If sociopaths can't control themselves who can?

      Delete
    33. This is my struggle. I am very capable of mercy and compassion. Its what I strive for concerning what happened with the socio. I would prefer to just forget it. I don't want revenge even though I did. I really did. But to know that someone has the capacity to harm others-outside of mental harm-does that fall outside of personal mercy and compassion.

      Delete
    34. Anon 5:10
      "I think because it wasn't the war is over just war is over. It takes it out of that particular context of time and place and makes it much more infinite. The war within ourself can be over at any time. Its already over."

      I pondered this on my way to work. I say myself on a boat, navigating a reasonable sea, salt waves lapping onto a beach.

      Two years ago, my visions were all of being lost in a raging ocean.

      And I am reminded of a few lines I sent to the psychopath who initially assisted me, and I him in the aftermaths of our respective relationship breakups:

      "Receded king tide;
      Salt-flecked stranger seeking sea
      gifts with me.

      http://www.seathos.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/makapuutidepools-cover3.jpeg

      You’re welcome to come rock pool hunting with me any time. It’s a tidal sport :)"

      Thankyou.

      Delete
    35. @Anon 1:55

      "It has been extremely hard for me because I know there was the intent to harm me physically from day one."

      I'm sorry to hear that and cannot imagine.
      -------
      @3:01
      "This is my struggle. I am very capable of mercy and compassion. Its what I strive for concerning what happened with the socio. I would prefer to just forget it. I don't want revenge even though I did. I really did."

      I can only offer that which helped me - your struggle *is* your own. There is a way of embracing that which is loving yourself. You can own your continued response and build a trusting relationship with yourself by listening to each of those confusions and questions and pains. It can be a most special time, this healing space when you make it about accepting yourself.

      An Anon in a previous thread wrote the following to me (I hope she doesn't mind me reposting but I found it beautiful):

      *****
      "Will it come, or will it not,
      The day when the joy becomes great,
      The day when the grief becomes small?'

      which I always thought was rather beautiful, suggests an eternal human longing/song... but, again, I only appreciated it in a more cerebral and aloof way until life's initiation into those regions proper... (I sense I'm getting a bit flowery)

      It will come though - that particular grief will keep diminishing with time and your own little rollercoasters become correspondingly more exciting, until you wonder what the adrenalin was all about! Seriously, you'll love the pumpkin effect when it comes, which it inevitably does!"
      ****
      -------
      " But to know that someone has the capacity to harm others-outside of mental harm-does that fall outside of personal mercy and compassion."

      I don't know. What can you reasonably do in the circumstances? I think your own heart is the best judge of both the environment and your capacity for action.

      *rustles around, aha!*
      This article helped me immensely:

      Reconciling with Harm: an Alternative to Forgiveness and Revenge

      I don't know if it's relevant for you or not or if it will assist. I will post an excerpt below: this is most relevant to personal healing - but if you feel there a concern about harm this person might cause to others, it might be worth talking to legal services in your state.

      -------

      "If sociopaths can't control themselves who can?"
      I might not follow you correctly here; could you please elaborate a little?

      Delete
    36. Excerpt follows from Reconciling with Harm (link in the comment above). If I were to recommend any one resource to someone who has been abused, this is it. This concept of reconciling with harm set the tone for my healing (ongoing).

      "One who reconciles with harm seeks and develops a conception of and for herself as a good, complete person, a valuable member of a moral community who accepts that she is harmed and empowers herself to achieve a kind of moral renewal of herself. Reconciling with harm thus affirms individual value and makes possible meaningful social relations by maintaining or creating the dignity and self-respect of the sufferer that may not result from forgiveness, revenge, or the traditional conception of reconciliation. Reconciling with harm is, I argue, morally superior to
      forgiveness, revenge, and reconciliation with a perpetrator for cases of severe, egregious, and ongoing harm to the victim where the traditional reactive attitudes and actions give more power and
      attention to the perpetrator than he warrants and less to the person harmed than she deserves, thus failing to address appropriately the concerns and needs of the person who has been harmed. Reconciling with harm is therefore a specific and moral affirmation of the value of the harmed person and a virtue to be cultivated. "

      Delete
    37. North thank you for the article. It did help to give me a different outlook and will continue to do so I'm sure. Sociopaths are strange in their need or drive to sort of kill off Characters-not exactly literally of course-but it is a certain death you are expected to carry out. Or that the way it has revealed itself to me. I guess I have refused to follow the script. I am still taking it all in. Thank you for your kind words. They were very much needed and appreciated.

      Delete
    38. Anon 11:41

      I'm glad you liked it. And glad you didn't follow the script (great analogy btw - it's very helpful and fits the puzzle, at least of my experience.)

      She who makes her own path needs no map

      :)

      Delete
  4. In regard to M.E.'s tweet-"In the chain of victims associated with a sociopath, we remember that the sociopath himself was the first victim." What I have never understood, is how people (psychopaths/sociopaths/non-sociopaths alike), victimize people who are not responsible for the "original victimization". Thoughts anyone???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd guess it has to do with perception.

      Since nobody helped them before (as children who, in most societies, are the most entitled to protection), the logic is constructed that nobody will help them now - willingly. So it's them against the rest of the world. And, to survive, they must win. Remember also they seem to believe that emotions in others are not 'real' - merely a tool of manipulation. Therefore they are merely playing the rest of the world at its own game but doing it better, in their view.

      (Sorry, if I've got any of that wrong, guys - open to correction from those who are living it.)

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your reply, SansDire.:)

      Delete
  5. PS-In my opinion, people need to forgive, deal with their victimization themselves, and if they need to deal with someone about their victimization-they need to deal with the person/people, who were/are the origin of the victimization. Any thoughts???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dr Google can help out, I can only speak from experience with my ex husband who was molested for years by two men as a child.

      He did tell me before we were married but said it didn't affect him. He seemed functional. And I didn't notice his escalating control mechanisms. I did notice I was miserable eventually.

      His response was about controlling his environment. Intimacy was not possible - I sought intimacy with friends and gave up with him. He controlled everything. Looking back I see how he swamped my friendships by either employing my friend or my friend's partner, then making the relationship about him. I'm quiet and introverted and never tended to socialise much so didn't really notice. He also became the patriarchal figure in my family; and again, I allowed myself to be distanced. I never felt understood by my family and welcomed that distance.

      The sexual side of things - he said to me he replayed his rape with me everytime. I don't really want to talk about that. But for him, he was replaying it, perhaps to find closure or to control me. I don't know. I know it felt appalling and my skin crawls. I thank the universe the socio showed me sex could be pleasureable. I thought it was normal for wives to be not into sex after so many years together.

      He also said the sociopath who abused him taught him to treat sex as self-soothing. I don't want to talk about how that played out for me.

      He texted me once: "I put fear in you without you knowing it." He understood implicitly- and before I worked it out - everything the socio did with me. He said I was a naive baby and had been raped too. He knew all the tricks but said my lover was a Master.

      He was also very manipulative at work, but a high achiever. He couldn't cope with stress or perceived unfairness, however. If something was beyond his control, he couldn't cope at all and ended up being made redundant.

      Another thing he told me was that before his abuse, he was already manipulative, always the alpha, and beautiful. In short, he was probably born with narcissistic tendencies.

      To answer your question, he learned patterns of behaviour to protect himself. Some areas shut down. He cannot deal rationally with anything that might remotely be felt by him as blame or shame. His otherwise highly capable mind short circuits and he seeks to control - narcissistic rage.

      I think responses to abuse are very contextual, but if someone has a genetic predisposition to sociopathy it will develop more freely. If someone has genetic predisposition to narcissism they'll be helped down the track. The rest of us end up with attachment problems and verge on narcissism of various flavours. I tested pretty highly for narcissism, perhaps less highly these days.

      It's self-preservation and entrenched neural pathways basically.

      Delete
    2. Hi North. You sound strong as ever.

      He also said the sociopath who abused him taught him to treat sex as self-soothing. I don't want to talk about how that played out for me.

      Sounds horrible for you, soothing for him. I'm sorry you went through that.

      He texted me once: "I put fear in you without you knowing it." He understood implicitly- and before I worked it out - everything the socio did with me. He said I was a naive baby and had been raped too. He knew all the tricks but said my lover was a Master.

      Master of the North Wind? I think not

      He was also very manipulative at work, but a high achiever. He couldn't cope with stress or perceived unfairness, however.

      Poor baby. You know that he's a lot tougher than this. And a lot more unfair when it comes to dealing with you.

      If something was beyond his control, he couldn't cope at all and ended up being made redundant.

      If he can't deal with the reality that some stuff is beyond his control, Nature has made him redundant.

      Another thing he told me was that before his abuse, he was already manipulative, always the alpha, and beautiful. In short, he was probably born with narcissistic tendencies.

      To answer your question, he learned patterns of behaviour to protect himself. Some areas shut down. He cannot deal rationally with anything that might remotely be felt by him as blame or shame. His otherwise highly capable mind short circuits and he seeks to control - narcissistic rage.

      That is likely very true, North. But he still has to take responsibility for his 'freedoms.'

      I think responses to abuse are very contextual, but if someone has a genetic predisposition to sociopathy it will develop more freely.

      I totally agree with you. And so, you ex can be held only partly responsible, depending on his IQ, social, emotional and spiritual awareness.

      XYX

      Delete
    3. Why thank you XYX.

      I agree, he does need to take responsibility - mainly for his own healing but also his behaviour. I decided my existence was more than being merely his crutch - he must decide it's time to stand on his own if he's to become whole.

      Thanks again for your kind words.

      Delete
  6. There was a moment I decided to spare a bit of honesty to them, and they said I had some "dark and disturbing" thoughts that I decided to express. I had to say though that I don't necessarily have any negative emotions attached to those thoughts, perhaps because I choose not to allow them to be and simply feel more free to talk about whatever I want to talk about. I think it's because it all comes back to that "For nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so"; that kind of thinking pattern developed at a young age it quickly escalates into a never ending pattern of thinking and impulses.

    Just enjoying my evening with a beautiful friend and another handsome man, with some Blue Dream and Sour Diesel weed. It's been a good night so far.

    ESTP Sociopath

    ReplyDelete
  7. Estp I find your lack of facade both beautiful and enthralling. I too am trying to understand so many things about myself as well as what I might as well perceive to be a new species I unwittingly discovered. The truth being far more terrible that it was right in front of me the whole time. Do you feel you identify closer with being Bad? Or the concept of bad? The socio I was with constantly reffered to themself as bad. It always struck me as so almost childlike. I realize now that they are no more bad than I am good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. interesting anonymous 8.28 !!the socio that was in my life also described himself very often as being bad. I could not understant why then and i was thinking he was doing it in order to receive some fluttery back from me. After i saw through his facade and disclosed his lies , deception and stupid actions i conclunded that this was probably a kind of 'leakage' on his part or he was feeling uncomfortable under his mask or he was trying to confuse me . Who knows ?? i am so happy i left him .

      Delete
    2. In my experience this is something that empaths go in for more than sociopaths, and it is often by making assumptions based on our own standards and behaviour that we miss what turns out to be useful information. As ESTP Sociopath said earlier, we project what we want or expect to see just as often as the sociopath is deceiving or lying to us. In this way we are complicit in our own deception.

      Delete
    3. The previous comment at 10:49 refers to 8:58 :

      I could not understant why then and i was thinking he was doing it in order to receive some fluttery back from me.

      Delete
  8. Anon 10.52 that was my reaction. To say your not bad. Mainly because I found it so silly and strange to say that one is bad. And also because I really had no concept of their true inner workings. In my own ignorance I believed we had all evolved past good and bad. This is so striking to me now because it's one of the few instances I would consider Childlike-saying that they were bad. Everything else was just childish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you think it was an instance of childlike truthfulness? Or was he fishing for compliments? Or wanting to reinforce your good opinion by getting you to say it (NLP style)?

      Delete
    2. It seemed like a real belief to me. And also a way to avoid confrontation. It seemed childlike because it was said in frustration so many times. When I would say no your not bad it seemed to just make the frustration worse. It didn't seem particularly manipulative but was mind boggling to me nonetheless.

      Delete
    3. I guess what I'm trying to say is the real belief that one is bad seems very childlike to me. Something that one makes sense of in their child's mind and builds and builds upon with untruths about their own reality.

      Delete
    4. That's very interesting... Thank you

      Delete
  9. Ukan (if its really you) where are you?? Your wit and sense of humour was like a breath of fresh air the other night - laughed out every ounce of stress. Hope its not long before someone else arrives here for you to play with.

    ReplyDelete
  10. In regard to the tweet: "I am a sociopath. How the hell am i supposed to deal with my life and find happiness?"-I thought being a sociopath, made everything "rainbows & unicorns". Have I misunderstood???

    ReplyDelete
  11. PS-It has appeared to me, that the sociopaths (at least on this blog), are quite happy...

    ReplyDelete
  12. PSS-Especially ESTP.:) Of course, good weed always helps.:)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Is my emotional state, in comparison to how the normal person might feel it, filled with happiness and contentment? I think people experience happiness relative to what they define within their mindset as the norm for what they feel in the socioeconomic circumstances, relationships, materialistic desires, etc., in comparison to the perceived experience of others who seem happy them. Are they content? Perhaps they might feel inadequate in some areas, but otherwise I think it is safe to assume most people are neutral or sufficiently happy with their lives. How each individual decides and draws comparisons so they can set the bar for happiness is perhaps really up to them, based on their proclivities and environment.

    In relation to my sociopathy, I am content and "happy". I don't know if my "happiness" means the same thing as normal people's happiness in a sociopathic emotional context, but it is what it is. The other night a friend of mine took note of how seemingly carefree I am with life, "really enjoying sipping your tea and plotting psychological warfare upon those who stand in your way". I said to him I wouldn't have it any other way.

    ESTP Sociopath

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ESTP, you do seem pretty chill. The way you talk makes it feel like life is not unlike a video game to you.

      What makes you blow a fuse?
      Do you ever?

      Delete
    2. You remind me of something someone once said to me, "I've never once seen you truly angry, or angry at all for that matter. It's so strange."

      It's not like I'm incapable of feeling a rage of some sort, but rather I frequently if not always prefer a unwavering disarming charm and politeness. The other day I was dealing with an individual who was on the job, and I their customer, and she was flinging words at me laced with hate and bitterness over some perceived wrong doing that I allegedly committed and I knew I was entirely innocent of. I just kept smiling, reflecting her own opinion back at her to validate her emotional state without trying to incriminate myself, and simply just keeping a composed demeanor until her current emotional state caved in or really when the guilt set in when she realized her own poor behavior towards me. Yes, waiting and quitely waiting until the seed of doubt I've planted sprouts rather then acting with purposeless retaliation is the option I do indeed prefer. I could and have acted in the past angry, but I prefer it to be instrumental to some direct benefit; I don't like verbal abuse or even violence to be pointless.

      So when I'm wearing my facade of disarming charm and politeness, perhaps some kind of rage is simmering deep beneath the surface, but I do I see you worth wasting my breath for expressing it? I weigh my options, and more often then not the diplomatic route appeals to me it seems.

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
    3. So you never loose it. Strange. Another self identified socio on this site seemed to be just as chill as you professed to be. Tii. Not sure I completely buy it.
      You actually have never lost it?

      Delete
    4. I have, and that's what I tried to say with, "I could and have acted in the past angry, but I prefer it to be instrumental to some direct benefit; I don't like verbal abuse or even violence to be pointless."

      I have lashed out with anger, but I really dislike thinking I would have to react that way unless it's absolutely necessary; how often does stoking the flame ever help?

      I'll likely speak more on the subject of anger in M.E.'s new blog post.

      ESTP Sociopath

      Delete
  14. Did you really find the lack of compassion surprising? People seem to think that "empathy" makes them "good" and then people without are "bad". But really what they call "empathy" is only a shared protocol for decision making with other people who share the same emotional calibration (for lack of a better word). They expect emotion to overrule logic in the same way it does in their own minds. They know that you will not be bound by the same protocol, and so therefore they cannot predict your actions based on emotional signals the same way they can with others. For example, a person can be confident that another is not about to attack by his facial expressions and tone of voice, and so instinctively feel safe, but if they have reason to believe that this evaluation is not correct then he must be regarded as a possible threat. (And in the case of sociopathy are they not correct?) This instinct is the same reason that people fear those with mental illness but show compassion to those with physical illness. It is also easy for people to see themselves in the position of someone physically ill, but not mentally ill because the transition between sick and healthy states is so obvious. Everyone knows they could get cancer, but they do not seem to understand that they are a simple chemical change away from depression or even sociopathy. The real tragedy being that much of the damage from mental illness comes not from the illness itself but from the reaction of those without it.
    -345

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anon 12:36-Are you saying that sociopathy can be treated with medication???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon 12:36-Also, you state that sociopathy is a "possible threat" to others. Contagious physical conditions are also "possible threats" to others. In both, people attempt to take "necessary precautions", to protect themselves. Damage comes from mental illness, and from the reaction of those without it. Why do you refer to protecting oneself as a "real tragedy", when it comes to mental illness, and not physical illness???

      Delete
    2. Anon 12:36-Is it a "real tragedy", to not choose to work, with contagiously ill people? If one chooses to work with contagiously ill people, is it a "real tragedy", to take whatever precautions one deems necessary, to protect oneself? The same thought process can be applied to mental illness...

      Delete
  16. In regard to M.E.'s tweet: "What "raw material" is used when sociopaths are being manufactured? Answer: empaths." If sociopathy is genetic, wouldn't the "raw material" used to "manufacture sociopaths", be "sociopaths" and possibly a combination of "sociopaths and empaths"? If sociopathy is enviornmental, wouldn't the answer also be "sociopaths and empaths"?

    ReplyDelete
  17. I was reading through the comments in one of the posts OldAndWise recommended to North and this caught my attention because it's not the first time I read a socio saying something like it:
    "It's like fiction allows me to empathize more than I can in real life." (s/he was talking about tearing up in movies sometimes).
    Also, I remember from Dutton's book (The Wisdom of Psychopaths) the story of a neurosurgeon who was extremely calm while performing a surgery but anxious while watching a soccer game.
    I'm curious about that.. Does it happen to any of you? Has anything to do with focus? Any thoughts/experiences?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely happens to me, although it has to be the right material. I can empathize with characters much better than with people. Thinking about it, I would speculate it's because I can know the characters and relate to them much more solidly than real life people. Real people are so one dimensional, they're whatever they are in the immediate time I see and much like a child my mind just stops thinking of them when they're not present. Like puppets that collapse when there's no one to move them.

      But fictional characters you can know their thoughts and feelings, you can get inside them. I still get a thrill reading about Tom Ripley and I still feel sad for Louis in Interview with the Vampire. But then maybe it's because those characters parallel things about me, I relate more because it's egocentric. I see Ripley's viewpoint because he's a sociopath too, I feel for Louis because I have that same feeling that I'm lost in a voyage of discovery that might ultimately be fruitless.

      It's an interesting question and I'm curious what other people will have to say.

      Delete
    2. Interesting, thanks Scarlet :)

      Delete
    3. I remember puppy basket saying cartoon characters made her emotional. What I thought at the time was that she could relate because there is a lot of emotions compressed in under 120 minutes. Emotional memory perhaps does not fade away in that space of time.

      From what I have read and experienced 2nd hand is that emotional memory is lacking in a sociopath. I have had a good number of fights or words with my socio friend that should have ended the friendship. But he always forgives and forgets. And I remember this one time in particular when he upseted me, then made up for it somehow and was completely flabbergasted when he realized - some 20 minutes later - that I was still upset. Cute. One of the first times I realized he was in a parallel universe.

      Delete
    4. "I remember puppy basket saying cartoon characters made her emotional."

      Reminds me of R. Crumb, the cartoonist, who said that as a child he was sexually attracted to cartoon characters. Bugs Bunny? I don't recall, but the documentary "Crumb" is a worth a watch for those who are interested in people with atypical wiring.

      Mr. Hyde

      Delete
  18. I am Hwa Jurong, a Reputable, Legitimate & an accredited money Lender. I provide all kind of loans locally & internationally to individual and companies. We offer loans at 2% interest rate annually without stress of securing the loan! E-mail: {hwajurong12@gmail.com or hwa.jurong@yahoo.com.sg)

    ReplyDelete
  19. More people need to be on http://sociopath-community.com/

    !!! it used to be connected to this blog but was disconnected over a year ago. We need fresh blood and lots of interesting things have happened recently that will go down in the forum's history!

    ReplyDelete

Comments on posts over 14 days are SPAM filtered and may not show up right away or at all.

Join Amazon Prime - Watch Over 40,000 Movies

.

Comments are unmoderated. Blog owner is not responsible for third party content. By leaving comments on the blog, commenters give license to the blog owner to reprint attributed comments in any form.